• The nervous system is a part of the body which takes care of functions like thinking, intelligence, sensations, movements. 
  • It includes the brain and the long tube called the spine which has thousands of wires running down to every part of the body called the nerves. 
  • The brain development takes place in stages starting as early as just 16 days since conception. Amazing!

DEVELOPMENT

First 3 months( 1st trimester)-

  • Differentiation of the brain into different parts starts with the formation of the first brain structure at 16 days of conception.
  • It starts as as the place that folds into a tube like structure . This tube begins to form a chuck which forms the brain and remaining as a cord that forms the spinal cord at about a month’s times since conception.
  • The developing brain differentiates into different parts over the next 2 months.
  • The nervous system activity can be seen as early as 1 and 1/2 months when the baby begins to spontaneously arch it sbody.
  • And by about 2 and 2/1 months the baby can have hiccups or yawning movements or even thumb sucking.

 

Middle 3 months of pregnancy( 3 to 6 months- 2nd trimester)

  • Over the next few months, the tiny nerve cells migrate to all parts of the body to make sure every centimeter of the body has a nerve connection and in turn, they get connected to the brain.
  • Problems in this part of pregnancy can lead to baby have defects in movements or occasionally may have fits.

 

  • During these months the baby can start having breathing movements,  sucking and swallowing movements.
  • The parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate are well developed.
  • Hence babies born after 5 and 1/2 months( 24-28 weeks) may survive.
  • The minimum requirement for survival should be the development of these basic functions in the baby.
  • You cannot accept a baby to survive if these basic development has not occurred.

 

The last 3 months(3rd trimester)

  • In these months the nerve connection to most parts of the body is made.
  • These brain begins to develop rapidly.
  • The brain begins to learn, for example- the babies earlier would startle for noise would slowly start to learn to calm down. This is called ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

 

FACTORS THAT AFFECT DEVELOPING BRAIN

  • Infections
  • Genetic defects
  • Medications- always talk to your doctor about what medications you are taking during pregnancy
  • Alcohol
  • Oxygen delivery from mother to baby
  • Nutrition in mother

 

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AFTER BIRTH

  • The brain system continues to develop over the next 2 years.
  • It is said that up to 98% of brain maturity is attained over the 2 years.
  • Hence very important to stimulate your baby in the right way .
  • The various connections between nerve cells are made.
  • The parts of the brain and the nerve connections, most used are well developed , and the nerve connections less  frequently used slowly disappear.
  • By 2 years of age, the child’s brain has over 2 trillion nerve connections!

 

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